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Thread: Mics for under $100 - that just may work for you.

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    Exclamation Mics for under $100 - that just may work for you.

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    A friend asked my advice about cheap mics (under $100) for recording guitar and/or vocals, so I did a little shootout for him, using four mics that anyone can find for under $100 each - often, way under. Some of the old timers here have heard me say that "a mic doesn't know, or care, what it's recording." Maybe this shootout will illustrate that point a little better. The four mics used were:

    1. Behringer ECM-8000 (Very Small Diaphragm Omni Condenser Mic - $40 to $50).
    2. Shure SM57 (Cardioid Dynamic Mic - $50 to $60).
    3. MXL 603 (Small Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Mic - $60 to $70).
    4. MXL V67g (Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Mic - $80 to $90).

    and a Neumann TLM103 was used to record a "scratch" vocal/guitar track - (Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Mic, around $700 used).

    All the "guitar" tracks were recorded by aiming the mics at the lower bout of his Martin D41 - from about 6" away. The exception was the ECM-8000 which was positioned at the sound hole at about the same distance. That mic has no proximity effect.

    All the "vocal" tracks were recorded about 6" away, using foam pop filters and a metal wind screen. The "scratch" track was recorded from about 3 feet away and the TLM-103's height was adjusted for a nice balance between the guitar and his voice.

    There are nine tracks in the "rar" file; all are 44.1/16 bit "wav" files (that should load easily into any multi-track program you might have). Each file is about a minute and a half long. The "rar" file is about 32Meg in size.

    Other than trying to make all the levels consistent, there is no other processing of any kind on any of the tracks (no eq, reverb, compression, etc.). I hate the "guess which mic this is" shit, so each track is clearly labeled as to what it is.

    All times start at "0:00:00", so you can simply solo any guitar track and any vocal track at the same time. If you think one mic doesn't have enough (or too much) bottom or top end, try playing with your eq and see if you can get an acceptable sound.

    These are just quick and dirty tests of four mics that most people here wouldn't normally think about using for recording both vocals and guitars. But if you're new to recording, perhaps one or two of these mics might be good enough to get you started. Here's the zipped file:

    http://itrstudio.com/MicTest.rar

    Note: You might hafta right click and save the file, then open it with your archiving program.
    Last edited by Harvey Gerst; 04-20-2010 at 12:10. Reason: Reduced zip file size and added better mic descriptions.

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    Great stuff Harvey! What was used a a preamp on all of these?



    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moresound View Post
    Great stuff Harvey! What was used as a preamp on all of these?
    Just used the stock preamp in the Soundtracs Topaz board. I used the same channel over and over for all the tracks and simply moved the output to each new track through the patch bay. I did turn phantom power on or off as needed, and adjusted the input level trim knob to keep the levels about the same while recording.

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    Harvey I just wanted to post a few budget microphones that was posted by Michael Joly about a week ago.

    My recommendations for "Best Value" mics

    * The Nady SCM-800 and MCA SP1 side address SDC mics (not LDC!) are $50
    * the cardioid-only, transformer-coupled MXL v67g LDC is $90
    * the three-pattern FET / transformer-coupled CAD GXL3000 is $90from Front End Audio
    * the 9-pattern tube / transformer-coupled Apex 460 is $189.
    * the Nady CM-90 SDC (uses the same capsule as the SCM-800 and SP1) is the lowest priced, true-condenser pencil SDC at $50.
    * For ribbon mics, the Nady RSM-4 and RSM-5 still hold down the low end at $80 with their "short ribbon / long path" motors.
    * the $99 Apex 205 mic is still the "long ribbon / short path" mic to beat.
    * Recently I've really been suggesting the $229 (from Adorama Camera) Nady 1050 as a different color alternative to the Apex 460.

    Amongst hundreds of low cost mics, these define "best value" in my book.

    I just wanted your thoughts/opinions on these as well with out doing a shoot out will they come out about the same in the final results. Thanks in advance.



    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

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    Well, the Apex 460 at $189 and the Nady 1050 at $229 put them over the $100 mark, but I'm sure the others can do a decent job - if you're careful about mic placement and reasonable eq.

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    Thanks Harvey ...That was my opinion as well I just wanted to make sure.
    For your great knowledge on microphones may have told me to stay clear of certain brands or models.
    Not that I don't trust Michael on these matters, but just like purchasing a car or sorting out doctors ....It's always best to have a second opinion.
    Thanks again.



    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

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    Which one is best for christian rap metal jazz zydeco?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    Which one is best for Christian rap metal jazz zydeco?
    Depends. Is it for praise Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, or for grunge Christian rap metal jazz zydeco?

    If it's for praise Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, I'd try the MXL V67g.

    If it's for grunge Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, use the SM57.

    For plain old, straight-ahead Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, any mic will work fine, but placement is more critical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
    Depends. Is it for praise Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, or for grunge Christian rap metal jazz zydeco?

    If it's for praise Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, I'd try the MXL V67g.

    If it's for grunge Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, use the SM57.

    For plain old, straight-ahead Christian rap metal jazz zydeco, any mic will work fine, but placement is more critical.
    Placement such as in "closer to thee"?



    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by moresound View Post
    Placement such as in "closer to thee"?
    Well, if greg needs more information on exact mic placement for this type of group, he can contact me privately - and I can tell him precisely where to put the microphone.

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